Ulster are beaten 11-9 by the Blues in their final home Magners League match of the season
Ulster (6) 9 Drop goal: O'Connor Pens: Schifcofske, O'Connor Blues (11) 11 Try: Loxton Pens: Sweeney (2)
Cardiff Blues took a two-point victory over Ulster in a low-key Magners League game at Ravenhill on Friday night.
Ceri Sweeney landed an early penalty but Niall O'Connor replied with a drop goal and a Clinton Schifcofske penalty put the home side 6-3 ahead.
James Loxton crossed the line for a 31st-minute try and although Sweeney hit the post with the conversion, he made amends by kicking a penalty.
O'Connor reduced the deficit with a penalty in the second half of the game.
Ulster had the better of the second half but O'Connor's penalty was all they had to show for their efforts.
Props Rhys Gill and BJ Botha were sin-binned late in the game, reducing both sides to 14 men for the closing minutes.
The Blues team bore little resemblance to that which defeated Gloucester in last week's EDF Energy Cup Final, but still boasted 10 international players.
After Sweeney scored the opening penalty, Ulster lost Paddy Wallace through injury in the fifth minute.
O'Connor's drop goal brought Ulster into the game and although Schifcofske was short with his first penalty attempt, he made no mistake with his second effort.
Ian Whitten squandered a good try-scoring chance for the Irish province but then Jamie Robinson set up debutant Loxton for the only try of the game with a clever chip kick.
Sweeney's conversion came off the post.
Andy Powell was the outstanding performer for the Blues while his fellow Lion Stephen Ferris stood out for Ulster.
Blues can now turn their attention to next week's Heineken Cup semi-final against Leicester while Ulster, who have lost four of their last six matches, have two Magners League fixtures still to fulfil.
Ulster: C Schifcofske; S Danielli, D Cave, P Wallace, A Trimble; N O'Connor, P Marshall; B Young, R Best (capt), BJ Botha, C Del Fava, R Caldwell, S Ferris, D Pollock, R Diack. Replacements: N Brady, T Court, M McCullough, C Henry, I Boss, I Whitten, I Humphreys.
Cardiff Blues: James Loxton; Richard Mustoe, Jamie Robinson, Gareth Thomas, Chris Czekaj; Ceri Sweeney, Richie Rees; Rhys Gill, T Rhys Thomas, John Yapp, Deiniol Jones, Scott Morgan, Sam Warburton, Robin Sowden-Tayor (capt), Andy Powell. Replacements: Scott Andrews, Ross Jonhson, James Down, Ben White, Darren Allinson, Dai Flanagan, Ryan Howells.
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